Toughie 888

Toughie No 888 by Beam

Does my bum look big in this?

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Thanks to Beam for an entertaining puzzle with his usual portions of innuendo, a couple of which focus on large rears. I’m not particularly happy with either of the all-in-one clues where the definitions don’t seem to me to work very well – as usual your views on this and anything else are most welcome.

Across Clues

1a  For brilliant rose exterior, large rear’s whacked outside (11)
{RESPLENDENT} – start with the exterior letters of R(os)E then put an adjective meaning whacked or exhausted round L(arge) and a synonym for rear or tail.

9a  Most vulgar gathering after supporter’s return (7)
{NAFFEST} – the word for a gathering, from the German for festival, usually follows other words (such as media-) to describe a specific type of gathering. Precede this with the reversal (return) of a supporter or aficionado.

10a  Queen comeback with poor money for arenas (6)
{REALMS} – reverse (comeback) the letters identifying our Queen and follow that with money for the poor.

12a  Feeling of degradation spending penny (7)
{EMOTION} – get rid of (spending) the letter used for a pre-decimalisation penny from a word meaning reduction in grade or rank.

13a  Release ends without charge involving English judge (7)
{REFEREE} – the end letters of R(eleas)E are followed by an adjective meaning without charge with E(nglish) inserted.

14a  Express mentions plots (5)
{SITES} – this sounds like how you would express a verb meaning mentions or refers to.

15a  Creature‘s wing suffering in difficulty (9)
{ARMADILLO} – start with a wing or subdivision then insert an adjective meaning suffering (from the current norovirus perhaps) inside a word meaning difficulty or kerfuffle.

17a  Ardour‘s small on grand bird in endless repose (9)
{EAGERNESS} – G(rand) and a sea eagle go inside a word for repose without its final E (endless), then finish off (on, in an across clue) with S(mall).

20a  Puzzle of unfinished Titian sculpture (5)
{REBUS} – first we want the colour of the bright auburn hair which Titian portrayed in many of his works, then add a sculpture of somebody’s top half. Finally remove the last letter (unfinished) from both bits.

22a  Zebra crossing is empty with late or early parking unavailable (7)
{STRIPED} – this is a description of a zebra crossing (or indeed of a zebra). Start with an adjective meaning empty or denuded and take out (unavailable) one of the P(arking)s – it doesn’t matter whether you remove the second (late) or first (early) one.

24a  Bit of a pig, nearly cruel creature (7)
{HAMSTER} – meat from a pig is followed by an adjective meaning cruel or austere without its final N (nearly).

25a  Covering up  physical abuse (6)
{HIDING} – double definition.

26a  Put online digitally created articles some trolled initially (7)
{PODCAST} – this comes from the initial letters of seven words in the clue. It’s meant to be an all-in-one where the definition is a verb described by the whole clue. The first five words are fine, but after that it seems to go awry – what do you think?

27a  Ominous phobia about a number’s admitted (11)
{THREATENING} – an informal word for a phobia or hang-up contains (admitted) a) a preposition meaning about or concerning, b) A (from the clue) and c) a two-digit number.

Down Clues

2d  European fiction’s about, say, serious poems (7)
{ELEGIES} – these are poems of a serious or reflective nature. E(uropean) is followed by a fiction or untruth plus the ‘S then the abbreviation for ‘say’ is inserted.

3d  Head accepts old, big top chief (9)
{POTENTATE} – a dated word for head or skull contains (accepts) O(ld) and what a big top is in a circus.

4d  Topless shock revealing boob (5)
{ERROR} – a word for shock or panic loses its initial letter (topless).

5d  Arrested cheat, say, brought up (7)
{DWARFED} – this is a verb meaning arrested or stunted but if you reverse it (brought up, in a down clue) it sounds (say) like a verb to cheat someone out of some money.

6d  Figure, half naked, spread embracing Romeo (7)
{NUMERAL} – the first half of an adjective meaning naked is followed by a spread or banquet containing the letter for which the codeword Romeo is used in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

7d  Printer’s perseverance uncovering dot (11)
{INTERSPERSE} – hidden (uncovering) word.

8d  Relief for Tory restraining Labour (6)
{EFFORT} – second in a row hidden (restraining) word.

11d  Show‘s over from nude tarts, no meddling! (11)
{DEMONSTRATE} – … and we have a hat-trick of hidden words. This one’s indicated by from but it’s also reversed (over).

16d  Ugly girl, female bird catching old man rising (9)
{MISSHAPEN} – the title given to an unmarried girl is followed by a female bird containing (catching) the reversal (rising) of an affectionate term for father.

18d  Gargantuan butt wearing tasteless dress (7)
{GARNISH} – the definition here is a verb. The last letter (butt) of (gargantua)N goes inside (wearing) an adjective meaning lurid or tasteless.

19d  Material covering hat’s alligator perhaps (7)
{REPTILE} – a type of material with a ribbed surface is followed (covering, in a down clue) by a slang word for a hat.

20d  Chap holding puff first runs a fast time (7)
{RAMADAN} – a synonym for chap contains (holding) an abbreviated puff or promotion, then that’s preceded (first) by R(uns) and A.

21d  Cross beam supporting back (6)
{BETRAY} – cross would usually be preceded by ‘double’ to get this meaning. Beam’s alter ego follows (supporting, in a down clue) a verb to back.

23d  Possibly poke with the thing? (5)
{DIGIT} – the whole clue defines (sort of) the thing that you might use to poke something with. A verb meaning to poke or jab is followed by the pronoun used for an inanimate object. Again, I’m not really convinced that the whole clue means the answer.

My top clues today were 1a, 18d and 20d. Let us know what turned you on.




  1. crypticsue
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    a proper 3.75 Toughie today but very enjoyable. Some particularly sneaky hidden words – I did spend a while trying to make anagrams out of them!! Thanks to Ray and Gazza – agree with the favourites.

  2. Posted December 5, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Off Beam today……’s in the bin…..

  3. Big Boab
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyable toughie from Beam and an entertaining review from Gazza, many thanks to both. ( I didn’t think the ladies looked tasteless )

  4. spindrift
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    If it’s Beam today on the toughie then who do have we to look forward to for tomorrow’s backpager? If I have to get my mad hat out then I need to know now in order to alert the medical staff in the dark & quiet room.

  5. Pegasus
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Good all round toughie with some deft hidden words, Favourites for me were 9a 18d and 20a thanks to Beam and to Gazza for the review.

  6. jezza
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I found this one tricky in places, although looking back at it, I do not know why I struggled so much to complete it; perhaps just one of those days, especially as I struggled with the other puzzle as well.
    4*/4* for me. Many thanks to Beam, and to Gazza.

  7. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    It is now about 16 hours since we finished this puzzle and we are still chuckling about it. Agree with *** difficulty but would give it ***** for fun. Lots of clever and amusing clues. Thanks once again Beam and Gazza.

    • andy
      Posted December 5, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

      you and me both, not the 16 hours though it feels like it, but the *****, I wonder if Cryptic Sue was trying to make an anagram of 11d, I know I was for far too long. I think 18d will have me chuckling for many years to come. Thanks Ray / Beam and Gazza as ever

  8. Only fools
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    It is now about 16 hours since I started this puzzle and I’m still ………….

  9. RayT
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Evening all…

    Many thanks to Gazza for the analysis, and to everybody for your comments.


  10. gazza
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Dada tomorrow.

  11. ChrisH
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Just couldn’t get to grips with this today. Tired brain, thats my excuse. Had to resort to the hints at an early stage.

  12. una
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Having looked at the crossword and then the hints and solutions and finally the responses,I have formed the opinion that people who find this crossword a breeze or even enjoyable,should refrain from condemning backpage cryptics as “too easy”,” boring”, “will take up sudoko” etc.Allow the rest of humanity some dignity.

  13. Up The Creek
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Late on duty with this one and had to sleep on SW corner. 22 was last in – having convinced myself it was some sort of ‘ped’ as in biped, I nearly cried when I got the answer. There was some lovely hidden words as in 7 and 8 but my favourite was 18 when the penny finally dropped. Thanks a lot Ray for another great puzzle with all your trademark clues.

  14. JB
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    This was a stinker/ Even with Gazza’s hints it was beyond me. What a difference a day makes. Don’t anyone be rude about 889 – it gave me back my dignity!